I’ve know been listening to Plastic Beach, the new Gorillaz album, for nearly 36 hours now pretty much non-stop as my Last.fm will attest, so I thought I’d give some thoughts on what I thought so far.
The album starts out with a beautiful orchestration piece. If there’s one thing Damon Albarn can do it’s right amazing classical sounding music. I kind of wish he’d do an entire album or soundtrack with just that kind of stuff. We cut to the second song and the first words you hear uttered are from Mr. Snoop Dogg himself, which when I hear it makes me laugh every time. He kind of raps about nature and peace and stuff though, which I think are definitely Damon inspired, but it sounds great. From there we is the song White Flag, which features Kano and Bashy, but more importantly in my mind, is The Lebanese National Orchestra fro Oriental Arabic Music. It’s absolutely brilliant that Mr. Albarn can tie together these extremely different kinds of music into one song. It’s exactly that talent that makes me think he’s one of the most brilliant musicians alive right now.
Then there’s Rhinestone Eyes, one of the few tracks that’s just Damon singing on his own, which in my mind are some of the best on the album. There’s also On Melancholy Hill, Broken and Pirate Jet as well. I think On Melancholy HIll would be the other really stand out track which features just him.
The other artists that I really enjoyed are Little Dragon and Mos Def. Little Dragon has such an amazing voice, and Empire Ants and To Binge are two of my favorite tracks on the album. I kind of hope she gets written in as a character in the Gorillaz mythos. And of course Mos Def is just an amazing guy, and both Stylo and Sweepstakes are great tracks, with the latter featuring a huge brass ensemble that beats anything that Mark Ronson has done.
I’d say that overall, however amazing I think this album is, it isn’t quite as good as Demon Days. There’s not dance track like D.A.R.E. and honestly the ending seemed brief and kind of lacking. The end of Demon Days on the other hand could only be described as epic, which of course is what I compare this to. That said, this album for me is like an 8 out of 10, just an absolute gem. I can’t wait to buy this album to hear it in it’s full glory and to get some rad new Jamie Hewlett art.
Technically, and by technically I mean definitely, it’s Tuesday and I’m posting my #musicmonday a day late… whoops! Anyhow, here’s what’s good that I’ve been listening to.
1) Radiohead – Have you heard these guys before? They’re so rad and I love them! haha… I thought I’d make a random suggestion since most people know Radiohead like the back of their hands. But there’s one little EP that you might not know about. It’s called Airbag/How Am I Driving? and was released way back in 1998. I grabbed it when I was in high school after falling in love with OK Computer but they no longer make the EP, thus it’s rarity. That being said, if you really want to find it, use Google.
2) Gorillaz – In the build-up to the new album, which I’ll be talking about after this post, I’ve been listening to some older Gorillaz stuff. I always felt like some of their best songs were the one offs that never made it onto proper albums. On G-Sides you have Faust, on the Feel Good Inc Japan Only EP you’ve got Bill Murray and Spitting Out The Demons, and then there was the track called Hong Kong which was written for the Help: A Day in the Life compilation. All of these are amazing songs which are worth your time to check out.
3) Owen Pallett – After two months now I can still say that Mr. Pallett’s album Heartland is one of my favorites of the year. In all honesty I think the beginning of the album isn’t as strong as the end of it, so it might be hard for some people to get into the album. If that’s you, I’d suggest starting at Red Sun No. 5 and going from there.
My buddy Ryan sent me a link to some “cool movie posters” which as soon as I looked at them I knew immediately they were the work of Tavis Coburn. It seems that Mr. Coburn was asked to illustrate the best picture nominees for the BAFTA’s, or the British Academy Film & Television Awards, and I think he did such a phenomenal job.
My favorite of the bunch is The Hurt Locker, which almost looks like a science fiction film than a war film. Something about the lighting and the colors really makes me love it. There’s also the extremely detailed Avatar image, which if you look closely has red and blue around the edges, which is a reference to the film being in 3D. After that is Precious, which is brilliant because her face fits almost the entire page but the image still looks perfect and beautiful.
I’ve put the other two images for Up in the Air and An Education under the cut as well. I really can’t express just how brilliant I think these posters are. I think he deserves a BAFTA for his pieces of art, they’re that good to me.
A few hundred years ago settlers picked up the recipe for a beverage called Root Tea, which was the combination of roots, spices and herbs that fermented and became alcoholic. A couple hundred years later prohibition started to kick in so Root Beer was created to fill the gap of this product, recreating the flavor it lacked the alcholic contents. Cut to present day where Art in the Age have decided to start creating Root Tea again, alcohol content and all, calling it simply Root.
I actually tweeted about Root and the folks over at Art in the Age sent me an entire bottle to sample, which totally surprised me, I was expecting one of those tiny, hotel sized bottles. Upon opening the bottle I couldn’t quite place the smell, though it was frustratingly familiar. Of course that smell was root beer, but more like a full bodied, pungent root beer smell. You might even say it was a little magical, like something you might read about it in Harry Potter.
Tasting it is quite a treat, and though it’s similar to root beer, it’s nothing like it. Root beer is overly sweet and fizzy, while Root is deep and full-bodied to taste. I can definitely taste the anise, and maybe a bit of the lemon, though it’s really hard to put a label on the exact flavor. Honestly it tastes like herbs and roots, which is a wonderful thing to try. I’ve been drinking it with Hendricks, bitters and a bit of tonic water to even things out. The first night I had one of those I was warm and toasty for the rest of the night.
I think what’s really exciting about Root is that no one (to my knowledge) is making a product like this. I didn’t even know anything like this existed until a few weeks ago. This novelty is definitely a part of it’s allure, but I can definitely say that the flavor is amazing and something that’s worth trying.
Plus look at that bottle! How rad is the design? I think if you brought this to a party or gave this to someone as a present you’d win major bonus points. I’m going to have to bring my bottle to work, otherwise my co-workers might beat me up.
I’m sorry, but the desire to post Kim Høltermand’s work all the time is maddening, the man is a genius. The images above are taken from a new series he did called Prism and once again he applies his trademark style to another gorgeous location. It’s amazing how he can turn a simple shape into such an awesome looking photo. I love that all of the photos in the set are basically the same, but by taking them at different times of day the color and lighting shifts, giving them an entirely new feeling. This is meant to be a bit of random beauty for your day, so enjoy it, and if you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Høltermand’s work, be sure to visit his site.